How NOT to Create Concrete Shapes/Number

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I have this amazing idea for concrete house numbers for our house but this one did not go as planned. It’s going into the DIY fail but after attempt two it turned out better.

How did this one go so wrong? Well it really is my fault, I bought the wrong kind of concrete and moved the forms before things were dried.

Let me show you what I did. First I purchased the supplies: Supplies in the picture are from my second attempt!

how to create concrete shapes

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  • concrete
  • cardboard number (paper mache)
  • #8 or #10 1.25″ screws w/bolts
  • water
  • WD40 or cooking spray
  • razor blade

Then I cut the tops off the cardboard numbers with a razor blade.

How to create concrete numbers

I sprayed 2 with WD40 and the other with cooking spray (just to see which one works better). This will help the concrete not stick to the cardboard.

Attempt to create concrete shapes

Next I mixed the concrete. Look at how rocky the first concrete was (that was problem 1).


Next I put the cement into the forms. I made sure to push the cement into the corners and wiggle the form to help fill in any gaps. This was from my second batch of concrete, see how smooth it was!

how to create concrete shapes

After I place the screws into place making sure they were straight. Back to batch one with the rocky concrete.

how to create concrete shapes

Problem 2 happened here on the second batch. I did the project right before dinner (on the table) and because dinner was in a little bit I had to move the forms after they had been drying for about 45 minutes. This was the problem because the forms are not the strongest (they are wet cardboard). When I moved them it made the cement crack on one of the forms. So learn from me and please place the forms (in the first place) where they can stay until they dry.

After letting the concrete sit overnight, I removed the cardboard. This was from the first batch, WD40 is on the right and cooking spray is on the left. 

Attempt to create concrete shapes

So the WD40  worked better than the cooking spray! Do you see the problem? I have gaps everywhere and rocks showing. Lesson learned by me, do NOT use rocky concrete.

Now for the second attempt, they were better but still not great. The number that cracked on me, I was able to super glue it back together!

Lessons learned from this project:

  1. Buy non-rocky cement
  2. Buy fast siting concrete (I like that better)
  3. Do NOT move the forms

Well I hope my mistakes will help you not make the same ones as me. Stay tuned for our finished cement house numbers.

How NOT to create concrete forms, numbers, and shapes

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